The young sensation Manjot Kalra, India's centurion in the final of the last edition of U-19 World Cup, has been given one-year suspension from Ranji Test Trophy for an age-fraud offence. As per reports, he has been handed this punishment by the outgoing DDCA Ombudsman Badar Durrez Ahmed. Justice Durrez Ahmed passed the verdict on the final day of his tenure and alleged Kalra of committing age fraud during his U-16 and U-19 playing day.
As a result of this order, Kalra will not be allowed to play age-group cricket for two years, snatching away his chance of playing Ranji TestTrophy for this season. Young left-handed opener Kalra, whose age is 20 years 351 days as per BCCI records, was last seen playing for Delhi U-23 against Bengal and scored 80. He was likely to replace senior opener Shikhar Dhawan in the Ranji Test Trophy squad but after this suspension, he will no longer be eligible for participation.
Another Delhi batsman Nitish Rana is also accused of age fraud charges, but he has not been served punishment for the time being as more documents of his age proof are required to validate his wrongdoing. In case of Rana, Justice Durrez Ahmed has asked DDCA to enquire from his school DAV Centenary, Narela and provide specific birth-certificate related documents before the next hearing.
DDCA general secretary, Vinod Tihara, expressed his helplessness of punishing a brilliant player like Manjot Kalra and said, "I find it surprising that Manjot Kalra has been punished for the same offence that Nitish Rana is also allegedly guilty of. We couldn't pick Manjot as it was Ombudsman's order. He passed it at 11:30 pm at night, a day before he relinquished office. Now that's a bit bizarre”.
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He further added, “He [Manjot] has been prevented from playing club matches also. Now his parents will have to appeal for a change of order in front of new Ombudsman. Till then DDCA can't pick him for Ranji [Test] Trophy. We are helpless”.